Published on Sunday, August 2, 2020

How travel bookings will change for summer 2021

A new survey suggests the tourism industry won't fully recover until a Covid-19 vaccine is out there and seen to be effective. The vast majority of Canadians and Americans said they will shun trips until then.

While this is not good for short term international travel, demand for travel will improve over time as more nations - especially the US - start getting on top of still surging infection rates.      

The positive news is that several countries have contracted with multiple vaccine makers who are now beginning their trials through the end of the year on the bet some of them will be somewhat effective against the virus. There is cautious optimism.

Many trade associations, governments and individual travel firms have been looking into their crystal balls but the simple truth is no one really knows what the Covid-19 future holds. What we do know is that there is an appetite to venture overseas once more.

There will be social distancing stays, with a shift away from big cities.

Consumers may book well in advance for their 2021 summer trips now, just to be able to have something positive to look forward to.

People from developed nations in North America and Europe especially, will bet on their being one of the early recipients of a vaccine in the coming months ahead of summer 2021 trips.

The market has unsurprisingly become more risk averse, not only on where they intend to travel to, but who they book with. There are many established companies now out of business and many more may not survive by next summer.

Consumers will be more selective, choosing those with the best refund or credit policies with low deposits and flexible terms.   

What they may be unaware of is that the supply of accommodations outside major tourist cities is limited, especially in some drive-to staycation markets and at projected booking levels through autumn, most will have already sold out. 

Hotels and resorts will likely not release as many rooms to tour operators now as they will be confident of selling these direct at full retail prices.

Travel agents and tour operators should continue to stay on top of the different options established destinations have to offer for their clients, while the 'new normal' will push new destinations higher up the wish-list.

How many mainnsteam travel advisors know about the coffee regions of Colombia, Sabah in Malaysian Borneo or the vast back roads of North America and Scandinavia?

Now is the time for tourist offices to step up campaigns and help support travel agents and tour operators to learn more about their tourism options.

There is still a long road ahead before normality returns. Travel demand will continue to languish for some time until the curve finally flattens for good and an effective vaccine (hopefully) becomes a reality. But we will travel again.  


Together, we are GoodToGo.


by Ray Montgomery, US editor

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  • I don't see how tourism industry can recover!

    I have worked in front line tourism industry for over 30 years.... this means at the sharp end where it matters,not online, not in the office,on the ground driving the industry.... sorry but only more disappointed and risky and extremely turbulent waters ahead..

    By Hasmukhray Modha, Monday, August 3, 2020

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